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LHA pushes for LGBTIQ+ data inclusion in national suicide monitoring

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LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) welcomed new data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Suicide and Self Harm Monitoring System providing insight into mental health risks for LGBTIQ+ people. LHA called for expanded efforts to capture data on LGBTIQ+ populations nationwide.

The AIHW data draws on landmark national surveys – Private Lives 3 and Writing Themselves In 4 – conducted by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS). These surveys constitute the largest body of research into LGBTQ+ adults and LGBTQA+ youth in Australia.

This information helps provide a clearer picture of who, within our LGBTIQ+ communities, is at greatest risk of mental ill health, self-harm and suicide,” said LHA CEO Nicky Bath. “The information highlights the need to foster protective factors that promote mental health and wellbeing—such as creating a sense of belonging, establishing support networks and relationships, and ensuring trans and gender diverse people have access to gender affirming healthcare.

Bath said the findings should inform the forthcoming 10 Year National LGBTIQA+ Health and Wellbeing Action Plan.

“We welcome this new data, while calling for governments at all levels to better capture relevant data on LGBTIQ+ populations and for it to be included in the National Suicide and Self Harm Monitoring System,” Bath said. There is more we need to know to effectively address disproportionately poor mental health and risks of suicidal behaviours experienced by our communities.

LHA is advocating expanded investment in systems that capture data on LGBTIQ+ people. This includes embedding the ABS Standard for Sex, Gender, Variations of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation Variables across government minimum datasets and funded research.

The organisation also called for renewed federal funding for the landmark Private Lives and Writing Themselves In studies, which remain unfunded and overdue.

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